It’s been a banner year for Sun Belt Conference football. That continued this past weekend when the league saw nine players selected in the NFL Draft: the most since the league began sponsoring football in 2001. The following players heard their names called, all on the third day of the draft in Kansas City.
- NICK SALDIVERI – OL, OLD DOMINION (4th Round, 103rd Overall, New Orleans)
- JAKE ANDREWS – OL, TROY (4th Round, 107th Overall, New England)
- DARRELL LUTER JR. – DB, SOUTH ALABAMA (5th Round, 155th Overall, San Francisco)
- NICK HAMPTON – EDGE, APP STATE (5th Round, 161st Overall, LA Rams)
- ERIC SCOTT JR. – DB, SOUTHERN MISS (6th Round, 178th Overall, Dallas)
- TRE HAWKINS III – DB, OLD DOMINION (6th Round, 209th Overall, New York Giants)
- ZACK KUNTZ – TE, OLD DOMINION (7th Round, 220th Overall, New York Jets)
- COOPER HODGES – OL, APP STATE (7th Round, 226th Overall, Jacksonville)
- ANDRE JONES – EDGE, LOUISIANA (7th Round, 233rd Overall, Washington)
The American Athletic Conference led all G5 conferences with ten selections in the 2023 draft. The Sun Belt was just behind with their nine, the MAC had seven, the Mountain West had five, and Conference USA had three. 12 players from outside the FBS ranks were selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Sun Belt has had at least two NFL Draft selections in 20-of-22 drafts since 2001. Three of the Sun Belt’s five highest NFL Draft totals have come over the past four seasons with seven selections in 2020, six picks in 2022 and a conference-record nine draftees in 2023.
Per an SBC spokesperson, the Sun Belt has produced six-or-more draft picks on five different occasions (2010, 2012, 2020, 2022 & 2023). The conference’s four-year total of 26 NFL Draft selections from 2020-23 is the largest four-year tally in conference history, surpassing the prior record of 22 from 2010-13.